PBL 2017: Gritty Saina Nehwal powers Awadhe Warriors into semi-finals
In a big clash where form mattered most , Saina Nehwal came up with a sterling show along with 2014 China Open champion Kidambi Srikanth much to the delight of their side Awadhe Warriors . The star duo’s fine showing helped their side beat Bengaluru Blasters in a close hard fought clash 4-3 to seal their semifinals spot at the Premier Badminton League Season 2.
Saina staved off a challenge from Hong Kong’s Cheung Ngan Yi in their women’s singles trump match, while Srikanth too stunned Rio bronze medallist Viktor Axelsen in another men’s singles match to guide Warriors home.
Bengaluru Blasters had kept their hopes of making to the last four alive after Sourabh Verma had beaten Vincent Wong Wing Ki of Awadhe Warriors to give his team an early 1-0 lead infront of a packed house at the Koramangala Indoor Stadium.
But mixed doubles combo of Savitree Amitrapai and Bodin Isar, star shuttlers Saina and Srikanth ensured that Warriors comfortably reach the knockout stage.
Earlier in the day, Warriors’ Wing Ki began on an attacking note and opened up a considerable lead in the opening game. With lot at stake, Sourabh slowly got his act together to erase the deficit and win the game 13-11.
With the opening game in his pocket, Sourabh dominated the second game from the onset to eventually run away with the game 11-7.
In the second match of the tie, Savitree Amitrapai and Bodin Isara took the court and the pair immediately brought their team to level par after they defeated Sung Hyun Ho and Siki Reddy of Blasters 11-9 4-11 11-5 in a mixed doublesen counter.
Former World No. 1 Saina then eked out a come-from-behind 9-11 11-5 11-5 win over Cheung Ngan Yi in the women’s singles tie which was the trump match for the Warriors to grab two crucial points and make it 4-1.
Bengaluru’s Sung Hyun Ko and Yeon Seong then managed to upstage Warriors’ men’s doubles pair of V Shem Goh and Markis Kido 6-11 11-9 11-6 in the last match of the tie, which was also the trump match for Bengaluru, to grab two crucial points but it was not enough.